Friday, February 14, 2020

Poetry Friday -- When They See You

Via Unsplash

Valentine Letter From Shadiya

I Love you so much
I ned you so much Miss Hahn
I nau you is so tieard
because I see yor pekchar in the book
I want show you your pekchar in 2018
You is so nice Miss Hahn
I see yor pekchar in the book
my firend has the book
you is so difrend in 2018 and 2020
I see you
and I see you is so tieard
if you ned hilpp
I can hilpp you.

Shadiya was new to the U.S. this fall. She is from Kurdistan, and speaks a rare dialect of Kurdish that has left her linguistically isolated in ways that none of our other EL students experience. There are no bilingual aides available to help her navigate our world. Every bit of English and our 5th grade curriculum that she has conquered has been won with grit and determination.

She must have always had this big heart we see in her letter to me, and it gives me comfort that the harsh reality of her isolation has not made her bitter and withdrawn. Rather, it has sweetened her already good nature like the boiling down of maple sap to make syrup. She begins and ends every day by giving me a hug. She keeps me centered and helps me remember why I do what I do.

Thank you, Shadiya. Yes, I am "so tieard" this year. But where would I be without you?

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope someone touches your heart like mine has been touched! Check out the Poetry Friday Roundup at TeacherDance.


  1. So impressed! Shadiya has learned so much, and now she wants to help you like you helped her. This is a true love poem, Mary Lee! (I esp. adore "Rather, it has sweetened her already good nature like the boiling down of maple sap to make syrup.") (This whole post makes me think of the magnet on my fridge that says "Will trade racists for refugees")

  2. Mary Lee, that young lady certainly has a big heart--and is definitely empathic. I hope you feel less tired soon. Your students love and need you. Happy Valentine's Day!

  3. What a touching poem -- sounds like both you and Shadiya have wonderful things to learn from each other.

  4. When I read stories like yours, Mary Lee, I always want to start my reply with "If only. . ." In our troubled world, yes, if only everyone could read, see, know, stories like your teacher self loving and teaching this very loving child. Shadiya shows us all how to live!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this story and this poem. I love your line, "Rather, it has sweetened her already good nature like the boiling down of maple sap to make syrup." What a gift this child is to the world and to you.

  6. This kid is worth it all. Thank you for a peek into your world, your heart and her words.

  7. Thanks for sharing Shadiya's poem and her story--she seems like a gem, and so nice that she sees you and that you see her.

  8. Such a sweet girl! Hoping you have a weekend where you get to do lots that feeds your soul! Sending lots of love!

  9. Beautiful on so many levels.

  10. Shadiya is a lucky girl to have you in her life, and you sure are lucky to have her in yours!

  11. Mary Lee, I loved everything about this poem and your post. How lucky we are to have amazing people walk into our lives and to learn from their journey.


  12. Oh, what a sweet poem of appreciation! Seems to me she has already helped a lot!

  13. This is the kind of eye-opening post that should be required for everyone... and I mean everyone. You are both so lucky to have each other.

  14. She is so lovely and so tough. Thank you for sharing this. I'm glad you are part of each other's lives.

  15. First, I am sorry about the tiredness she sees in you. It is a lovely thing to know that this young girl loves you, her teacher, and is learning so much, especially given the language issues. These kids, the ones that pour out their grateful hearts, make our teaching feel as important as it is. They help make the tiredness a little more bearable. I used to notice moments when I would be down or maybe wondering if I was doing it "right" and then a kid would do something, even something small, that let me know I mattered. This is beautiful. You've always mattered, though, we know that. Janet F.

  16. Tears, Mary Lee. This is the sweetest thing ever. Keep giving this girl your love. Love sustains us and get us through many things. You are a gift to her. Travel on!

  17. This letter is a true poem, a true Valentine from a heart with clear eyes, a heart older than her years. Wow, does she see you.

    Here is a tweet I got on Saturday:
    Lucie Drake
    you was my teacher in London nearly 20 years ago. You changed my world :) you are simply the best teacher in the entire world. Much love. I still remember the stories you told us (the class) lucy brecknock primary school

  18. Mary Lee, Shadiya is a wise, kind soul. And she takes after someone I know (look in the mirror). I am enveloping you both if a big hug from afar. xxxx

  19. Such overflowing love and care from you and Shadiya, thanks for sharing her letter and your words, xo.

  20. Well, this is just magical. Pure love.

  21. Oh, wow. Oh, WOW. How awesome that she's connected with you.


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